Thursday, August 3, 2000,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Gopal contacts Veerappan

CHENNAI, Aug 2 (UNI, PTI) — Emissary to the Tamil Nadu and Karnataka governments and Tamil magazine Nakkeeran editor R.R. Gopal established contact with Veerappan early today to negotiate the release of Kannada matinee idol Rajkumar and three others being held hostage by the forest brigand since Sunday, official sources said here.

Mr Gopal was escorted by Veerappan’s men to his hideout.

As of now Veerappan would only convey his demands through the emissary to the two governments.

If everything proceeds as expected, Gopal was expected to return to the city with Veerappan’s demands and meet Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi.

The response of the Tamil Nadu and Karnataka governments to the demands would then be conveyed back to Veerappan by Gopal.

Veerappan would then have to either release the hostages agreeing to the stand of the two governments or send counter proposals. This would take a minimum of four days before the hostages are released, the sources said.

The Karnataka Government had already decided to close a case pending against Gopal for alleged anti-government activities facilitating his role as an emissary once again.

Meanwhile, Veerappan said he would not hesitate to kill film star RajKumar if his yet to be announced demands were not conceded and if the governments uses police force to secure the release of the hostages.

In the audio cassette, which he had sent to Karnataka Chief Minister S.M. Krishna through Rajkumar’s wife Parvathamma, the brigand said, “I have kept track of the movements of the actor and the kidnapping was a well planned one”.

He said he knew that Rajkumar and former Karnataka Chief Minister S. Bangarappa were closely related, was aware of their “misdeeds” and hence had kidnapped the actor.

Meanwhile, Special Task Force (STF) sources from Talawadi said intelligence wing personnel in mufti had been deputed to the forest areas to find out the movements of Veerappan.

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